The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies has named a former state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources official to manage its newest fund, FracTracker.org, effective this week.
Brook Lenker, who served as manager of education and outreach in the department for nearly eight years, will manage FracTracker.org staffing and operations; expand the website capabilities; coordinate and develop content; publicize and expand use of the website by journalists and other users; broaden community and academic outreach; and undertake additional strategic initiatives.
“We are pleased to be able to engage a talented and committed environmental leader such as Brook and to work with donors such as The Heinz Endowments, whose generosity can be put to use through important community tools like the FracTracker.org Fund,” Angie Berzonski, program & communications officer for the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, said in making the announcement today (Friday, December 9, 2011).
“FracTracker is an invaluable resource to all who care about our future and the complex challenges associated with the shale gas industry,” said Lenker. “I’m honored to lead it and hope to expand its utilization, grow its capabilities, and build powerful partnerships that enhance its effectiveness.”
In his previous work, Lenker had extensive experience collaborating with groups as diverse as conservationists, businesses and hunting-fishing interests. “It was my responsibility to help lead a program to engage all Pennsylvanians in better environmental stewardship practices,” he said, “and I look at my work with the diverse stakeholders connected to FracTracker in the same way.”
The FracTracker website is hosted by the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds. The web portal is a combination data and blog tool that allows users to interact with, upload, analyze and visualize data that have been located geographically in relation to gas extraction activities in the Marcellus Shale region and oil and gas extraction nationally. The portal is also a hypothesis generating tool for academics; a storytelling device for journalists; and a resource for industry and government agencies. The hub serves as a center of data aggregation so that impact can be viewed and understood at scale and, through analysis and exposure, informs all levels of society and social discourse.
“We are looking forward to Brook’s leadership in the future development and use of FracTracker.org.,” said Caren Glotfelty, director of The Heinz Endowments’ Environment Program, which has provided nearly $1.5 million for the project since it began two years ago. “The website has become an important, independent, fact-based source of information on the effects of Marcellus Shale natural gas production, and we expect it will become even more useful under Brook’s management.”
Additional support for various aspects of the FracTracker project comes from the Philadelphia-based William Penn Foundation, which has awarded a $300,000 grant.
The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies is a nonprofit public foundation. Through the charitable giving of its donors, it builds professionally managed assets to support the communities it serves. Grants typically are advised by donors or are entrusted to the Foundation to use its community knowledge and engagement to place their giving toward greatest needs, emerging issues or to best leverage additional support. The Foundation is overseen by an active volunteer board and committees. The Foundation is also among those community foundations achieving compliance with national standards as established by the Council on Foundations.
For information about grantmaking or to inquire how to establish your own charitable fund at the Foundation, please contact the Foundation at 814-536-7741 or visit its website, www.cfalleghenies.org.
Samantha Malone and Matthew Kelso welcome Brook Lenker into the FracTracker.org team. They are excited about the experience and passion he brings to the table and look forward to working with him in making FracTracker.org a key player into the shale gas world.